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Moody Monday: Baker Bettie’s Cookie Wars 2012 / Hazelnut Shortbread with Marscapone Frosting

April 23, 2012

Oh…Hi, Monday. Did anyone go to Record Store Day on Saturday? I went to support my local store and listen to one of my co-worker’s DJ. Also, I picked up the newest Nobunny album as a house warming gift to Wyatt and I and got an exclusive Record Store Day 7″.

Anyways, my monday has not been SO moody so far because I am still on cloud nine from finding out I won Baker Bettie’s Cookie Wars yesterday! Yay! It is the first food (or blog) contest I have ever entered (I am the LEAST competitive person you will ever meet) but it was a super fun challenge to create something within the guidelines of the contest.

Soooo…for my Moody Monday post I am going to celebrate my cookie creation by posting the recipe and some pictures!

Make sure to go check out what everyone else who entered made because there are some serious creative cookies in there. I can’t wait to try the Passion Fruit Goat Cheese Mint Cookies or the Chili Dipped Coffee Biscotti. Mmmmm!


For the cookie:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped hazelnut

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds only
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • dash of vanilla extract
  •  Blackberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the flour, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. In another bowl, blend the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Then mix in the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar fixture. Fold in the hazelnuts. Spread dough (you can try to roll it but it’s a bit crumbly) onto a floured counter top and cut out desired shapes. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges brown (this will depend on how thick you make the dough).

Remove from oven and let cool.

To make the frosting: Take out the vanilla seeds by slicing the pod in half and scraping a knife along the inside of the bean. Whisk together the mascarpone, vanilla seeds, honey, and vanilla extract. Spread on the shortbread and top with a blackberry!


Saucy Saturdays: DIY Barbecue Sauce

April 21, 2012

I’ve been wanting to start ‘Saucy Saturdays’ for while now because I am a veggie sandwich nut. I eat one for lunch everyday and my pooooor poooor boyfriend has to deal with the same thing to eat all the time. I try to mix it up with different veggies, bread, and condiments but I feel like we’ve tried every bread in Bloomington and I’m weary about the hidden calories (and preservatives) in a lot of condiments. So, as a goal for this summer, I am going to try to make a new sauce/dressing every week to bring variety of flavors to my fresh salad and sandwiches. We shall see how long I keep this up but I am excited to try to knock off another healthy goal on my summer list.

Anyways, I begin with the first sauce as a homemade version of my absolutely favorite type of  sauce ever: BBQ! There is something about bbq that just compliments so many things…the fact that it’s tangy and can be sweet or spicy just counteracts all those hardy grilled goods. This version is exceptionally tangy with a subtle kick of sweet.

I have a new blog (as a side project to this one, of course!) on the horizon that I am collaborating on with my friend Kristin. We had a meeting last night which actually just turned into us making this barbecue to lather all over Mexican style tempeh tacos. Mmmmm, Not only did the tacos turn out amazing but this recipe made enough sauce for us both to walk away with about 4 cups each. So you are warned…this sauce makes a lot and be prepared to be cooking with it for weeks after! Or whip this up when you have a big grill out coming up to serve to your guests. Nothing is better than fresh condiments on grilled goods!


DIY Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • I can of tomato paste, 6 ounces
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin

In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over low and add the onions and garlic. Cook for ten minutes or until the onions are translucent.

While those are cooking, mix together all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Add the mixture to the onions when they are ready and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Lather all over tacos, pizzas, veggie burgers, and everything else.

Store in the fridge if using within a couple of weeks or freeze some for future use (or give some away to your amazing Ma or grumpy neighbor or whoever’s day you are trying to make).

Carrot Slaw

April 14, 2012

So I got some adorable carrots at Bloomingfoods this morning. I realize that seems weird for a type of food to be “adorable” but I think it’s possible. If it’s in miniature form…or colorful. And these carrots are bursting with color, to say the least.

See, aren’t they? Well anyways, I’ve been determined to start ‘Saucy Saturday’s’ and something keeps coming up. Like these carrots. How could I not immediately make a recipe with them instead? And I decided on a slaw so two condiments in one day just is too much. Oh well, I shall try again next week.

I’ve only eaten this by itself so far and it is delicious! To be honest, I don’t ususually think of carrots being able to hold their own but they manage to shine in this yummy recipe. The citrus and cranberries give it a great sweet kick as well so I think I will be putting these on some veggie dogs later this week (and for sure on my usual veggie sandwiches). I hope to post a picture of them as condiments as soon as I try it out! Until then, they can handle themselves on their own.

PS psssssst, substitute the honey for agave nectar to make it vegan!

Carrot Slaw

  • 1 pound carrots (or about 10 medium carrots), grated
  • Juice of half an orange
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt/pepper, to taste
  • garnish with cilantro

Wash and grate the carrots.

Combine all ingredients together. Refridgerate for at least a half an hour so the flavors can blend.

Eat by itself or in a sandwich!



Vegan Gravy Train [Sandwich]

April 13, 2012

I get it. I totally know what you are thinking. You can’t believe that I am posting about these HUGE breakfast sandwich topped with GRAVY while everyone is all excited about their breakfast juicers and green smoothies. And yeah, both those things will be much much healthier for you. Hell, that is what I usually consume for breakfast (although, I have not gotten my juice out yet this year- can’t wait though!).

Here is the problem with that… I LOOOVE breakfast/brunch food. It’s the best food genre ever to exist. So since I limit myself to healthy energy boosters in the morning, sometimes I like to splurge for dinner. And eating this ridiculously delicious sandwich for dinner hit the spot. I highly recommend you to transform your indulgent breakfast ideas into dinner plans. It’s super fun to mix things up!

Also, this was extra exciting for me to make because it’s the first time I’ve ever poached an egg. I know, crazy! I’ve managed to tackle homemade cheese and DIY pierogies but have never poached an egg… ridiculous, I know. Glad to say it was super easy and I am rather sad that I didn’t tackle poached eggs sooner. Lastly, the gravy is vegan but obviously the egg is not. Feel free to make it vegan by omitting the egg or substituting with tofu.

Breakfast Sandwich

For Two
  • 2 eggs, poached
  • 2 English muffins
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, large slices

Peppered Sage Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups almond milk (or regular)
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

To poach the eggs: Bring a small saucepan of water to a slight boil. Add a dash of vinegar and put the egg in a small bowl. Drop the egg into the water and turn off the heat immediately. Let sit for 4 minutes in the water and scoop out with a spoon.

To make the gravy:

In a large skillet, whisk the flour, nutritional yeast, and milk together. Once it is a smooth consistency, add all the spices. Place the skillet over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Next, add in the butter and reduce to medium low. This is when you recruit someone to continuously stir the gravy while you start prepping the scramble. Cook the gravy until it is thick and feel free to add more salt/pepper.

Assemble: Toast the muffin. top with butter, tomato, avocado, poached egg, muffin top, and then lather in gravvvvvvyyy. (or as my boyfriend says…”ride the gravy train”…although that has nothing to do with it).

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze

April 10, 2012

Every Easter since I can remember I spent it with family. Since my parents are divorced, my brother and I would have two huge Easter meals. I would have a brunch with my Ma and a dinner with my Father. This was great as a kid because that also meant you received two baskets, twice the amount of candy, two egg hunts and twice the amount of dessert.

However, in addition to be being grown up and grown out of Easter baskets, I now live 4 hours away from family and going home for the holiday just did not seem feasible. I knew it would be okay because I’m not religious and I would have been dragged to church by my Ma and lectured about my faith. But I felt a little sad not celebrating my favorite meal of the day- brunch. So, I had to compensate in some way by whipping up a brunch recipe that I’ve been eyeing for weeks.

The product of my Easter blues were these Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls. And they were well worth not receiving a free buffet brunch this year. These rolls are not over sweet because they are made with whole wheat flour and sweet potatoes but still very indulgent with the sugary maple glaze lathered all over them.

Adapted from So Good & Tasty

For the rolls:

  • 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes, cooled
  • 1 cup almond milk, warmed
  • 4 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoons nutmeg
  • 5 Tablespoons butter, melted

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (+ more if you’d like a stronger flavor)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and maple syrup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let sit for ten minutes.

In another bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, eggs, oil, and spelt flour. Add to the yeast mixture and mix well. Next, add in the flour a cup at a time until a sticky ball of dough forms.

Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise for one hour or until it has doubled in size.

Wait…go play with your puppy…wait…dance to 90s classics…wait….watch a rerun of Twin Peaks…wait…

Split the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out a looooooong rectangle (this doesn’t have to be an exact measurement or science. Just roll it wider if you like more layers and taller if you like them big and popping out the top of the pan).

Make the filling mixture by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread half the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle with half the filling mixture. Roll from the bottom (with the long sides being from left to right) to the top as tightly as possible. Slice into 6 sections and place in a greased baking dish. Repeat with the other half of the dough so you end up with a total of 12 rolls.

Cover with a clean towel and let rise for another half an hour.

Go take a walk…play bananagrams with your roommates….do some online shopping…wait…

Preheat oven to 400. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

To make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and syrup until a thick glaze forms. Lather over the rolls and let sit for a minute so it melts.

Farmer’s Market Sweet Potato and Asparagus Curry

April 8, 2012

Yesterday morning, after much anticipation, I went to the first outdoor Farmer’s Market of the season!! It was even better than expected. In years past the first few market’s were only filled with budding herb plants and strawberry shrubs but with the weather being so warm lately, there was plenty of produce to be had! I got a box of sweet potatoes, a (still living) head of lettuce, and a bunch of asparagus.

Needless to say, I immediately started thinking about how to combine the three. I ended up saving the lettuce for sandwiches this week but found this great curry recipe for the sweet potatoes and asparagus. This made me particularly excited because

  1. I am using my sweet potato and asparagus
  2.  I LOOOOOOVE curry
  3.  this curry was like no other curry I have ever made before

[Here comes the rant about my love for curry] WOAH, it is kind of ridiculous how much I love curry. It’s so flavorful, vegan, stocked full of all my favorite vegetables, and infinitely versatile. Yesterday was a particularly chilly day compared to what we’ve been having so the idea of warm goodness lathered over some soft rice sounded so satisfying. Summer is no place (sadly) for curry and I was super excited about being able to make this one more time this season. What was especially fantastic about this curry was it used every vegetable I would have avoided when making my usual curry. I associate curry with onions, peppers, potatoes, etc but this one was chocked full of asparagus, sweet potatoes, and even a bit of corn! And the best part is it still turned out fantastic. Gah, okay, I am done ranting about how amazing it is and am going to now tell you how to make it.

Sweet Potato and Asparagus Curry

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons powdered turmeric
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk
  • 2 sweet potatoes, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • fresh cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to  400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, throw the asparagus in and immediately turn off he heat. Let it sit in the warm water for a minute and then drain.

On a large baking pan, toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cook for 8 minutes in the oven. Once cooled, cut into 1 inch pieces.

In a large pot, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil over medium. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop (about 3 minutes). Next, add the onions and saute for 5 minutes or until they have softened. Then add in the garlic, spices, and bay leaves and cook for another 2 minutes.

Next, add in the coconut milk + 1 can full of water to the mixture. Add in the tomatoes, corn, and sweet potatoes and bring the sauce to a simmer. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the sauce has become thick. Lastly, add in the asparagus and simmer for 1 more minutes.

Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro. Munch down with naan bread or a mango lassi! Enjoyy!

Sweet Berry Tart

April 5, 2012

You can probably expect to see a lot of baking posts in the next month. Things are winding down with school which means stress is at an all time high as I finish this chapter in my life and begin to prepare for a new one. This entire year has been a game of decision making and I am constanly hoping I make the right ones. The time is nearling where I will begin to see where my decision takes me and I feel like I have been holding my breath waiting. In the meantime, I’ve turned to yoga and baking to cure my anxiety.

This tart was influeced by how beautiful I thought the Galette was that we made the other month and this could almost be considered a sweet spin on that recipe (although I am going to continue to call it a tart because I have a diffferent “sweet spin” in mind that I plan to recreate for a sweet Galette ASAP- stay tuned for that!).

Anyways, this tart did turn out beautiful and absolutely delicious! I have become  a big fan of these “free form” type crusts instead of the traditional because I just love the rustic look it gives to the pies; it just gives off more of a home cooked feel than standard pies that mimic the same kind you purchase in the store.

For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tbsp ice water


  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • dash of lime juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 tsp water, beaten together

  • 1 tsp strawberry jam
  • 1 tsp water

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your hands, rub the butter into the dry mixture until it all resembles coarse sand. Then, add in the ice cold water and form a ball of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 5 minutes or until chilled.

To make the filling, combine the berries, cornstarch, sugar, lime juice, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Let sit while you roll out the dough to help make a thick syrup.

Take the dough out of the freezer and use a rolling pin to make a 12 inch circular crust. Scoop the filling into the mixture and make sure to leave an inch or two empty to fold over. Next, fold over the edges and brush them with the egg/water mixture.

Cook for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 375 and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until the berries have softened and the crust has browned.

Combine the teaspoon of jam and water together and crush on top for a nice glaze.

Serve with ice cream or whip cream.

Make sure to share with your puppy and roommates!

Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls with Cilantro Lime Sauce

April 4, 2012

These remind me of “pub grub”; I really don’t like sports…or chains so when I do end up at Chilis or TGI Friday’s (I guess those are bad examples of “Sports” bars but you know what I am talking about), it’s always out of desperation and I am normally so hungry I could eat anything on the menu (and then it usually turns out I cant eat anything on the menu- even the salads are drenched in meat!). Anyways, I always see these as appetizers and skip right over them knowing they are going to be filled with beef. I guess these were a product of my frustration about having to skip over clever (well…relatively clever) food ideas because of my diet restrictions.

They turned out really yummy. Crunchy on the outside with gooey, hot, cheesy insides. I kind of wished I had stuck avocado inside or made some guacamole to go along with them but that’s probably just because I am avocado obsessed. You should feel free to add (like avocado or more jalapeno, if you like it hot) or take out (replace the crumbles with more beans if you don’t have any on hand) whatever you’d like.

Oh! Also, these only make between 6 to 10 (depending on how much you stuff them) so if you’re thinking about making them as an appetizer for lots of guests, I may suggest doubling the recipe. Mmmkay, that is all! Happy Eating!


Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls with Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • About 10 wonton wrappers
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups meatless crumbles (like this or these)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup of black beans, rinsed very well
  • 1 1/2 cups corn (canned or frozen)
  • 1 heaping tsp cumin
  • 1 heaping tsp chili powder
  • dash of cayenne
  • dash of salt
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese

For the dip:

  •  1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • dash of salt



To make the sauce: stick all the ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and mix for about 2 or 3 minutes or until everything is well combined. Stick in the fridge while preparing the eggrolls to help solidify the flavors.

For the egg rolls: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. First, warm up a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the frozen crumbles and saute for about 3 minutes. Next, add the corn, jalapeno, black beans,onions, red pepper, and seasoning. Saute for another 3 to 5 minutes or until everything starts to soften. Remove from heat and fold in the cheese.

Take a look at the picture below to help guide you with wrapping! Basically, you are going to take about 2 Tablespoons full of mixture and put it in a long line diagonally across the wonton. Next, fold the corners directly on the left and right and then roll up the wonton from the bottom. I know it sounds complicated in writing but hopefully the picture will help!


Coat the tops with a tiny bit of olive oil. Cook for ten minutes. Enjoy with the chilled sauce and a beergarita!

Oatmeal Honey Buttermilk Bread

April 1, 2012

I realize a lot of you already know this but I live in a house of five girls but what you don’t know is that really translates to 6 girls, 2 boys, and a dog if you count all the baggage that comes along with college ladies (boyfriends, siblings, animals, etc). Anyways, my point is there is always SOMEONE around which is fantastic because I love the company but baking is one of my stress reliever and every once in a while I just want to bake in peace. Luckily, Saturday was one of those days where I took the kitchen all to myself. I woke up extra early because I knew that would give me time with two of my roommates being late sleepers, one being in Chicago, another in New York checking out Cornell for the fall, and my boyfriend at work. It was wonderful to just be able to put a vinyl on and go to work.

I love my breadmaker because it gives me the ability to just throw everything in the machine and come back at lunch to fresh bread for sandwiches but making it by hand is so simple and satisfying when you have the time. I realize it seems daunting thinking you have to plan for 3 hours to make this bread but really there is about 20 to 30 minutes of hands on time so when you are busy around the house anyways, letting it rise for an hour by itself is not a big deal. Anyhow, this bread is delicious and anyone who appreciates fresh bread with their sandwiches, I highly suggest making this recipe!

The recipe makes two 8×9 loaves of bread but since I only had one pan I made one loaf and 4 big sandwich rolls (yum!). The bread turned out super moist (still just as moist today – the day after!) and very hearty with the ever-so slightly hint of sweet from the honey.

Oatmeal Honey Buttermilk Bread

adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
  • 1 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt

Combine 1 cup of oats and hot water in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes or until the oats absorbs the water up.

In the bowl of your mixer, add in 1 tbsp of honey with 1/4 cup warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top; let sit for 5 minutes so the yeast can react to the water.

Next, add in the soaked oats, buttermilk, oil, 2 tbsp honey, oil, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, and salt. Turn the mixer (with the bread hook) on low until everything is combined and then turn up to medium for 10 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap for one hour or until it doubles in size.

Wait, go play with your puppy, do some dancing to David Bowie, wait.

Tuco helping me bake

Place the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about five minutes to get the air bubbles out of it. Divide the dough in half and place in two oiled pans (or form into circles if you’re making rolls). Mix the remaining tsp of honey with 1 tsp of very hot water and brush on top of the loaves. Sprinkle the remaining oats on top.

Let sit for about 30 minutes to let it rise a bit more.

Preheat oven to 375. Cook the loaves for 20 to 25 minutes and the buns for 15 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy hot with butter or make sandwiches like I did below!

wishing I had some avocado

Bakery Style Berry Muffins

March 28, 2012

And so continues my desire for summer food! This recipe is great though because it’s like a fake summer recipe…you use frozen berries so that they hold their shape and color while you fold them into the batter. It’s great because you can go into this recipe knowing that it will turn out fantastic regardless of what season it is.

I had to race out of bed this morning in order to get a picture of these fluffy muffins before my roommates gobbled all of them up. These muffins are “bakery style” so they puff up way past the top of the tin and stay super moist and flavorful because of the yogurt in them (and smell up the whole kitchen with berry baking goodness!)

This recipe is adapted from Isa’s Vegan Brunch; it’s one of the first recipes I discovered when diving into vegan baking and it really hooked me. I believe strongly in the idea that vegan baked goods stay moist longer and manage to pack more flavor with their slightly dense texture. I suggest this recipe (and Isa!) for anyone who does not have much vegan baking experience but is ready to learn!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup soy greek yogurt (I used blueberry flavored and it turned out great!)
  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the yogurt, milk, and oil. Use a spatula to mix everything together until a smooth batter forms. Fold in the berries.

Scoop the batter into the muffin tins (just the 12- it should fill most of each tin so that they will rise to be big, bakery style muffins). Bake for 23 to 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Serve with butter or eat them by themselves for the rest of the weeks breakfast!

Corn Fritters with Roasted Red Pepper Feta Sauce

March 27, 2012

This weather is confusing my body! It thinks its summer and all it wants are smoothies, fruit, and corn on the cob! This is most disappointing since none of these things are in season yet (well smoothies are always in season) so I am doing my best to improvise.

I made this recipe a couple of summers back when I was staying with my parents. They have this great pool that demands constant pool parties and this was a hit from those summer parties. I know this recipe is impressive because I go through such mass volumes of recipes that I can hardly remember what I made last week let alone years ago! The fact that this recipe still pops in my mind is a sure sign that it’s worth making again!

It turned out just as I remembered; the patties were inviting with their fluffy texture and an intense kick from the cilantro. The sauce is salty from the feta with a great vibrant kick from the red pepper [it also makes loads so I've been using the leftover sauce on veggie sandwiches]. The two really work perfect together so I insist on making them together!

Corn Fritters with Roasted Red Pepper Feta Sauce


  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • `salt/pepper


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups of corn (canned or frozen)
  • 4 scallion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • canola or vegetable oil, for frying

First let’s make the sauce. In a blender, add the feta, sour cream, water, lime juice, and garlic. Puree until smoother. While blender is running, slowly add in the olive oil. Add the basil, oregano, and bell pepper. Puree until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Stick in the fridge until the fritters are ready.

For the fritters: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, coriander, and cumin. Next, add in the egg, lime juice, and water. Use a spatula to mix until smooth. Finally, fold in the corn, scallions, and cilantro.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Use a heaping tablespoon to determine the size of the patties and cook them for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned (how fast they cook will completely be determined by how hot the oil is so keep an eye on them!).

Serve warm with the yummy yummy sauce!

We enjoyed them on the porch as a perfect evening snack!

Spring Leeks and Zucchini Galette

March 25, 2012


I actually made this last weekend but have been putting it off for two reasons: 1. I was a little frustrated because pictures could not convey how beautiful this piece of food was and 2. I don’t even know where to begin with being able to describe just how delicious this thing was.

Honestly, this is a bit more complicated than most of the recipes I blog about but it’s well well well worth the extra effort. The crust is flaky like a crescent roll with the slightest hint of sweet from the sour cream that you would never expect. And then the veggies are roasted until they practically melting in your mouth and to top it all of there is a layer of cheese on both the top and bottom. Looking to impress some guests? Please please please make this Galette!

I suggest making the pastry crust earlier that day so save  time when it comes to cooking it. Also, I got the crust recipe from Smitten Kitchen so head over there and prep the crust!


Spring Leeks and Zucchini Galette

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Leeks, sliced
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced
  • 2 small red potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup smoked mozzarella, shredded
  • 3 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled
  • Drizzle of honey
  • 1 crust from Smitten Kitchen
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg white mixed with 1 Tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the Olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the garlic, potatoes, zucchini, and leeks and saute for about 3 minutes. Then add in the thyme and salt/pepper and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.



Spread the cup of smoked mozzerela evenly across the bottom of the crust. Line the vegetables however you’d like within the crust (we did in inward spiral with the zuccini and potatoes and then put the leeks in the middle but feel free to get creative)! Top with chunks of goat cheese and fold the extra crust over (see pictures below!). Brush the egg white mixture along the crust and pop in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the vegtables has softened and the crust is browned.


Drizzle a tiny bit of honey over the goat cheese sections and serve right away! Be careful though because there was three of us and this was gone in about 2 minutes with us wishing we had made 2…or 3 galettes!


Mixed Berry Grunts

March 24, 2012

I don’t know what the proper name of this dish is called; I’ve heard grunts or dumplings or just plain old stove top cobbler. Whatever it is, it’s amazing. I looooove cobblers but when I discovered that I could make a version that has doughy dumplings drenched in fruity sugar…I was sold. I made a vegan version last summer which you can find here.

It’s like we skipped most of winter and now we are skipping spring and heading straight for summer. This is totally throwing my body off and the summer vibe is making my body crave fruity desserts. But it’s not fruit season yet (is it still March?) and my blueberry bush has just started blooming so what’s a girl to do? Well, I marched (in the form of walking my puppy) right to the store and picked out the freshest berries I could find. The pickens’ were slim with lots of impersonator fruits that we all know have traveled thousands of miles and were picked weeks ago but I did manage to find a batch of delicious looking strawberries and a batch of blackberries (sorry Kroger, I don’t like my blueberries shriveled and decrepit).

Don’t hesitate to make this vegan by substituting Almond/Soy milk for the milk, sugar cane for the sugar, and Earth Balance instead of butter!

Mixed Berry Grunts

  • 1 pint of strawberries (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups Blackberries (or blueberries or raspberries)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

In a large saucepan, combine the fruit, sugar and lemon juice. Let sit for about ten minutes so that a sugar starts to form. Next, bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and stir it often.

While waiting for the mixture to simmer, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Next, melt the butter into milk in a tiny saucepan. Add the warm mixture to the dry ingredients and stir into a thick dough.

Scoop heaping tablespoons full of the mixture into the simmering fruit to make dumplings. Then cover with a lid and let simmer for another 20 minutes.

The dumplings should double in size and the fruit should be drenched in a syrup. Serve warm with yummy ice cream on a sticky [March] summer [spring] evening!

Glazed Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts

March 21, 2012

I honestly feel a little embarrassed making this post. I pride myself on having lots of what may seem to be unusual ingredients in my main rotation of cooking materials like agave nectar, Gruyère, and seitan. However, I’ve never cooked with (let alone ate) Brussel sprouts. Waaaah? I know! I never grew up eating them because they always seemed like a “icky” vegetable as a kid (you know like broccoli and peas; they just seemed too green and earthy smelly to consume when that yummy neon yellow macaroni and cheese was piled high on the other side of the plate (it’s been awhile since we were kids but I know you know what I’m talking about!).

Anyways, so I’ve never had Brussel sprouts which means I’ve never craved them and it’s not like a lot of recipes call for them mixed in. I guess this is just me making excuses but whatever the reason, I feel bad about it! And I was in the store the other day and saw this gorgeous puppy:

Which I immediately decided I need to have. It’s so pretty and it’s like owning a new plant when buying one of these things. However, since I mentioned I have no experience with Brussels sprouts what-so-ever, I did not realize that one of these could probably feed a family of ten as a side. Since it’s just my boyfriend and I, this recipe did not cover this whole branch of sprouts and you will probably be seeing a few more Brussels recipes before this week is over.

Anyways, the grocery co-op I worked at always prepared them by sauteing in loads of garlic and more garlic. I can imagine that is amazing but that sounded kind of like what I do with all my vegetables and I decided I wanted to try something more unusual. The result was amazing and I was pleasantly surprised by Brussels sprouts! Not only did they have an amazing texture but once cooked, they practically melted in your mouth and absorbed up the sauce perfectly. I was very impressed.

Glazed Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 Tablespoons honey mustard (or to taste)
  • Salt/Pepper

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts with the centers facing down (check out picture below) and season with salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes or until the bottoms brown.

Add in the wine, broth, and onions and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes (or until softened).

Remove lid and scoop out the Brussel sprouts (and onions if it’s convenient, if not it’s okay). Into the liquid mixture, add the heavy cream and simmer for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency. Remove from heat and add in the honey mustard (taste test it and add in more if you’d like!).

Drizzle on top of the Brussels sprouts and season with more salt and pepper.

Enjoy with a yummy main dish or by itself!

Also, make sure to share with your puppy or he might give you the concerned eyebrow wrinkle:

Sparkling Blackberry Lemonade (Alcoholic or not!)

March 18, 2012


Some days you have to just let yourself sit out on the porch all day and not feel guilty about it. To be honest, I’ve been doing this a lot lately but I am hoping that the charm of this weather will wear off within the next few weeks and I won’t be a total waste of life all summer (but if it doesn’t then so what? I’ll survive!)

There’s nothing like lying around on a warm day and drinking some lemonade. I, personally, am a little addict when it comes to Andre (or any cheap champagne) so I used that to give this drink some fizz but feel free to keep it alcohol free for the kiddies or what not.



Make lemonade according to the package directions. Then mix everything together in a cute vintage pitcher and enjoy with all your friends (PS- I suggest smashing the blackberries a little because they release more color that way!)


My roommate thought she would be able to write her thesis paper over Spring Break. Yeah, don’t worry, I didn’t let that happen.

Scallion Wonton Bites

March 16, 2012

I don’t want to elaborate too much because I feel like it’s so clique for every vegetarian to have their stories about the foods they miss. BUT…if we are going to go there… I absolutely love love love Chinese food! I’ve managed to fill the longing for General Tao chicken with this recipe (it’s just as yummy!) but I still craved the crab rangoon when indulging in this delicious dish.

I played with the idea of using imitation crab to try to tackle my own crab rangoon but I just don’t know if I feel comfortable preparing it since it’s not even the crab that I like in the pockets but the gooey cream cheese (To be honest, how often does Chinese take-out crab rangoon really taste like crab? Exactly).

So instead I turned to creating something with the parts of the dumpling I actually like and it turned out fantastic! I usually steer away from frying foods but this is super easy and did not take any longer than it would to prepare anything by sautéing or baking.

I’d suggest you try these the next time you decide to whip up a batch of General Tao Tofu!



Scallion Wonton Bites

  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 10 wonton papers
  • Peanut/Canola oil (for frying)

Blend together the cream cheese, scallions, red pepper flakes and ginger.

Place a heaping teaspoon of the mixture in the center for wonton paper and then twist to seal (see pictures below).


Heat the oil in a tiny (to conserve oil!) saucepan over medium heat (you can tell it’s ready by sticking a small strip of wonton in and see if it gets crispy).

Place one or two wontons in the oil at a time and cook for one to two minutes (you’ll be able to tell when it browns to your liking). Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate.

Repeat with the rest of the wontons.

Enjoy with yummy Chinese dishes and your favorite movie.


Wild Rice Chowder and Open Faced Grilled Cheese

March 14, 2012

It’s hard to believe with this 80 degree weather that I was craving soup just two days ago. But, putting myself in those shoes, it was a beautiful 60 degree day last Saturday and we enjoyed sandwiches and big coffee mug fulls of wild rice soup during a lovely picnic on the porch.

The chowder was delicious. I honestly have never hard wild rice soup before. This whole thing came about because I was at the store awhile back and saw the wild rice gleaming at me from the bulk section. It’s so colorful and vibrant and I’ve never tackled a recipe with it so I decided purchasing some would be a good challenge. Unfortunately, it sat on my shelf for the next three months before I decided that this avoidance had to come to an end. I looked up recipes with wild rice in them and came across dozens of patties, salads, thanksgiving sides, and soups.

I was sold on the idea of soups but most of them used meats and the “vegetarian” ones were just blander versions of the original. I decided to take one of the meat recipes and completely revamp it for all your vegetarian needs!

I was nervous that I’d end up with a flavorless soup myself but this was not the case. It was so delicious! And thank goodness at that because it made enough leftovers for me to eat it three times a day for the next two weeks (AKA I may suggest cutting this recipe in half if you aren’t looking for a large amount of yummy leftovers).


Wild Rice Chowder

  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 potatoes, cubed
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 cups meatless crumbles
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Bring the two cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender. Remove from heat and set aside (do not drain so the rice can absorb up the excess water!)

In a large cooking pot, heat the olive oil up over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about five minutes. Then add the garlic and saute for another minute.

Next, add in the flour and stir constantly for a minute. Then add the broth and whisk until a milk mixture is created. Add in the potatoes, carrots, thyme, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Next, add in the corn and meatless crumbles and simmer for another 20 minutes (or until the vegetables are tender). Then add the half and half and cooked rice and stir until everything is warmed up and creamy.

Serve warm in cute animal mugs with yummy sandwiches!


We also made these simple and delicious sandwiches to go with the soup! Enjoy!

Open Faced Grilled Cheese

  • Half a baguette, sliced in half length-wise
  • 1 fresh tomato, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 slices of Swiss cheese (or however many to your liking)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Turn your broiler on low (if you have two options). Combine the olive oil, basil, oregano, and salt/pepper in a small bowl. Lather the bread pieces evenly with the mixture.

Top with the tomatoes, swiss, and then garnish with a few a bit more dried basil.

Broil for only a few minutes (I don’t want to give exact times because everyone’s broiler is so touchy and different). I would just turn the light on and watch it until the top gets brown. No more than 2 or 3 minutes.

Enjoy with yummy soup and your favorite porch spot!

Nom Nom.

Tuko being so cute and good while we enjoy our picnic on the porch!

Mini Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffins

March 13, 2012

It’s amazing how productive and relaxed you feel when you don’t have hours of homework nagging at your schedule. I woke up this morning with the intentions of doing nothing but whatever I wanted to and it was marvelous.

I whip these up in about 20 minutes while sipping on coffee and listening to an old ‘Bob Dylan’ record. It was such a simple pleasure and it was wonderful to have the house to myself for once (I have four roommates..). These little muffins are SOOO easy that they can even be prepared while still half asleep and without any stress.

I seriously thought they were fantastic by themselves but feel free to dip them in maple syrup if you’re feeling extra indulgent. Also, they are absolutely fabulous when still warm and the chocolate melts in your mouth but feel free to stick them in an air tight container and munch down over a few days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Once well incorporated, make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in all of your wet ingredients (minus the chocolate chips). Use a whisk to whisk together the wet ingredients (it’s okay if a little of the dry mixture gets incorporated) then use a spatula to fold the dry into the wet until a thick batter forms.

Fold in the chocolate chips. Grease two miniature cupcake pans and fill each about half full (these little guys rise a lot!). You should end up with about 24.

Cook for 9 to 10 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean (they won’t brown on the top).

Enjoy with syrup and a big mug of french press coffee. And perhaps your favorite lazy morning cartoons (Scooby Doo!) or a Dylan vinyl.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

March 10, 2012

This recipe evokes fond memories of when I first started learning how to cook. When I was 19, I moved down to Nashville, TN for the summer to try to pursue my music business career. It was the first time I had ever lived on my own and I had a tiny apartment all to myself. It wasn’t much but it was all mine and that was what mattered. I had a lot of goals that summer (perhaps to help with the fear of moving to a city where I knew practically no one) and one of them was to learn how to cook.

Don’t get me wrong, my mother is an amazing person but she didn’t appreciate when I would bake and get half the ingredients in the bowl and the other half on the floor. In my kitchen, I was free to create whatever I wanted without anyone being able to judge me. If I failed (which I did, too many times to want to admit) I could chuck it and start fresh without any criticism. And if I succeeded, I had yummy baked goods to offer to the neighbors in my apartment complex and try to make friends (the people below me smoked far too much and were always more than happier to try out my concoctions).

Anyways, this is one of the recipes from that summer; I remember being blown away by the fact that I was capable of making something so delicious. It’s funny to look back on it because I was so strict about following recipes word for word back then and I’ve managed to play around with so many times since.

Today was a beautiful sunny Saturday so I whipped these up while my roommate made some Turkish coffee that she acquired abroad in Jordan last year. We had a cute little tea [coffee] picnic on the porch this afternoon with these delicious treats!

Also, can’t wait to spend my lazy spring break mornings laying around and munching down on these with coffee.


Chocolate Almond Biscotti

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep two baking sheets by buttering them and then brushing flour on top.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, cayenne, and baking powder. Stir to combine.

In another mixing bowl, cream the sugar, vanilla extract, and butter with a hand mixer. Once smooth, add the eggs and beat until well blended.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until stiff. Then add in the chocolate chips and almonds and (preferably with your hands because the dough will be stiff) knead until everything is well incorporated. Slit the dough in half and make two long logs on each making sheet. Dust both with powdered sugar and then use a knife to pierce slices about an inch from each other.

Cook for 35 minutes or until firm. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes. Use a knife to slip the pieces fully and turn them their sides. Put back in the oven for ten minutes.

Let cool completely and serve with warm, yummy coffee. Or have a tea party with your favorite pooch (like mine shown below).


Guiness Chocolate Cake

March 7, 2012

Update 10/29/2012: Don’t forget to stop by and check out VV’s newest giveaway which ends 11/02/2012!


I’ve been in a bit of a weird funk lately. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with my school career coming to a closing and me having to enter into the “real world”. My usual solution to ridding any irrational overreaction is to bake. And what better to make than something that combines my other two problem solvers: chocolate and beer!

I made this cake for Wyatt’s birthday a few months back and still have craving for it ’til this day. The Guinness brings a whole new tint to the chocolate flavor that is just irresistable. And the moist cake pairs perfect with all your favorite ice cream treats or some refreshing green beer.

This would also be a perfect treat for St. Patrick’s day which is approaching at massive rates! Perhaps this cake is even an excuse for you to host a St. Patty’s Day Potluck (it is on a Saturday!) to share this treat with all your favorite people!


PS next week is my last spring break ever (well…sorta a break for me. I have to work at the record label Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) so that means I have soooo many recipes planned to conquer on my time off. Expect great things coming ASAP!



Guinness Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup Guinness (guess you’re gonna have to dye the leftover beer green)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 and fill a round baking tin with parchment paper (or grease it if you don’t have paper handy).

In a small saucepan, heat the beer and butter over medium-low heat until the butter has melted and they are combined together. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder.

In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Slow mix into the beer mixture. Mix until smooth.

Cook for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.

Let cool completely and lather with your favorite chocolate icing and loads of sprinkles.

Enjoy with a big glass of green Guinness!

Baked Mac n’ Cheese

March 3, 2012

I’m going to take a break from posting about our Seattle/Portland trip and post a recipe. This recipe was inspired by our Seattle trip since we picked up some yummy homemade pasta at Pike’s Place last weekend.The large stand we bought it from was totally overwhelming with dozens of flavors of homemade pasta laying out for you to choose from. They had everything ranging from chocolate pasta to southwestern pasta (aka some pieces tasted like corn, some like peppers, etc)- check out all the flavors here. We ended up purchasing the ‘Chive Garlic Sea Shells’ because Wyatt was sold on it the minute the guy said it worked great with homemade macaroni and cheese.

And to be completely honest, the guy was totally right. This bake was beyond perfect on a chilling Friday night. The mounds of gooey cheese paired perfectly with the garlic and chive flavor of the pasta. Not to mention, the crusty top made for a perfect crunch in every bite. It’s so funny because I always forget to make simple things like homemade mac n cheese since I’m always looking to try something new but it’s these comfort foods that always turn out the best. I realize that you can buy Kraft at the grocery store for 1.50 but this recipe is so spectacular that I feel a little guilty even giving it the same name as the boxed version.

Baked Mac N’ Cheese

Adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 8 ounces of noodles (traditionally it would be elbow but we used shells)
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top

First, prepare the pasta according to it’s packaged directions. Preheat oven to 400.

Next, in a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the onions and saute until translucent (about five minutes). Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Then add in the flour and stir for one more minute. Turn heat up to medium-high and add in the cream and milk. Let the mixture come to a simmer and then turn it back down to medium. Add in the cream cheese, cheddar, colby, dried mustard, salt, and pepper. Stir until the cheese has melted and then remove from heat.

Add in the noodles and stir until everything is well combined. Pour into the remekins (I only had 2 little remekins so I also used a little baking dish for the extra) and cook for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

Let cool because this baby is hoooooot. And then munch down along with a small salad or french bread.

Marbled Parfait with a Raspberry Brownie Goat Cheese Filling

February 24, 2012

Woah, that is a mouthful. It’s needed though- all those ingredients stick out so much in every bit that I would feel guilty not letting you know what you are in for. The salty goat cheese counteracts that brownie so well that they are an [odd] match made in heaven. Plus, anything with goat cheese is amazing. Right?

I should probably admit that I’m delusional to think that this is a “healthier” version of dessert but this was an attempt at some sort of weird compromise. I love parfait for dessert because they are light and sweet but not too sweet. Wyatt loves chocolate and ice cream and anything with more calories than is supposed to be consumed in a week. SOO I made this thinking it would satisfy both of our needs…but to be completely honest, this is for no one on a diet or watching their calories. It’s rich and indulgent in the best way possible.

I would imagine you could probably even top this with ice cream instead of granola. And replace the raspberries with strawberries or blueberries or whatever you’d like. Get creative…that’s the best part about baking!


Marbled Raspberry Brownie Goat Cheese Filling:

Brownie Part:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Goat Cheese Filling:

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 8 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Other things to put in the parfait:

  • granola
  • more fruit
  • greek yogurt
  • honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9 baking dish. In a large bowl, mix together the shortening, sugar, and vanilla. Next, beat in the eggs. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and fold until well incorporated. Pour into prepared baking pan.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and goat cheese together. Next, cream the butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla until well blended. Fold in the raspberries (I crushed them a little bit on purpose so that they would bleed some pretty marbled red into the mix). Pour on top of the brownie mix.

Cook for 30 minutes or until it starts to brown on the top. Let cook for at least ten minutes then prepare your parfait with whatever fixins’ you’d like. Don’t worry if the brownie mixture is gooey because that helps it blend well with the other parfait ingredients.

Mmmmm, gooey goodness. Don’t share with your puppy but feel free to share with your roommates!



Pierogies with Roasted Tomatoes and Artichokes

February 23, 2012

I should start off by apologizing for the lack of recipe posts this week but lots of other exciting things have been going on around here (don’t worry! I have not lost sight of what this blog is really about- I promise)! I am currently working on a button for some blogs that will be sponsoring VV for March and the new addition of the magazine ‘Remedy Quarterly’ will be featuring an article about VV (more details about these things later this month). But as of right now, Wyatt and I are leaving for Seattle/Portland tomorrow morning and I have been crazily prepping for that all week (plus the new puppy takes up 99% of my free time these days). Anyways, a much needed vacation is in order and I hope to get lots of pictures to be posting throughout the weekend (I am most excited to visit Julie Hasson- the author of ‘Vegan Diner’s food truck Native Bowl and to visit the diner from Twin Peaks for some pie///coffee!!) So, if any of you have suggestion for places to stop in Seattle/Portland let me know ASAP!

Anyways, back to food. And more importantly, this recipe. Making homemade pierogies is a tradition my Ma and I have had for years and one of the best parts making them is being able to freeze half the batch to enjoy months later. We whipped up a batch back in December (Look: Here) and I found some hiding in the back of my freezer the other day. There is something about these cheesy dumplings that mixes perfectly with any veggies. I chose roasted tomatoes here because they become so soft that they almost turn into a sauce and burst with flavors all over your pasta. So delicious and very easy to prepare!

For the Roasted Tomatoes

  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • whole garlic cloves (as many or as little as you’d prefer), peeled
  • Dash of balsamic
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper

For everything else:

  • 15 pierogies (or ravioli)
  • 1 small container of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Parmesan

Start by roasting the tomatoes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the cherry tomatoes and garlic in a small bowl. Mix them with the brown sugar, balsamic, sage, olive oil,and salt/pepper. Then place on the baking sheet and roast at 375 for 20 to 30 minutes. Check periodically and stir around.

While that is cooking, bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook the ravoli/pierogies according the the package directions. Drain the dumplings.

The last part is to saute everything together so this time could vary depending on how well cooked you like them. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Next, add the pierogies, roasted tomatoes/garlic mixturee, and artichoke hearts. Saute for 5 to 10 minutes or until the pierogies have browned on both sides. Season with Salt and Pepper and sprinkle with parmesan.

Munch down and share with your puppy/kitty/boy.

And since it’s a delicious dinner, you’ll probably eat a little too much of it and feel really full after…so dance off that slumber with some tunes like this one:

Baked Onion Rings with Basil Cream Sauce

February 18, 2012

I use to have this method (well, I think a lot of people use this method) where if I don’t buy junk food at the store than I won’t eat it. Easy enough, right? Well then I met my boyfriend who craves milkshakes, french fries, and burgers every night around 11 or so (I despise the fact that the boy does not have an ounce of fat on him…) which was just not going to work for my diet. We compromised somewhere in the middle with hummus, popcorn, etc but there are times where he still manages to drag me to the dark side by insisting on a midnight milkshake run.

This has challenged me to try to “heathify” the greasy foods he craves. I know, I know…it just SOUNDS dreadful and most people think it’s impossible to BAKE something that we’ve grown to love DEEP FRIED but it’s more satisfying than you’d think. These onion rings are crispy, flavorful, and fast to whip up. So even though you weren’t able to drive thru to acquire them in five minutes, you know every single ingredient that goes into them and can feel satisfied knowing that they are just as good (probably even better. Who has honestly had warm, crispy and satisfying onion rings from Burger King? We all know they always turn out cold and soggy- YUCK).

I adapted the onion ring part of the recipe from Isa’s Appetite for Reduction. The key to success for this recipe is an assembly line to dip the onion rings from one thing into the other. This makes it so efficient and accessible to whip up in no time (no matter how lazy you are feeling at midnight).

Baked Onion Rings

  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoons salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons oil

For the Basil Cream Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper (or grease it).

Use two wide bowls to whip up the batters. In one, combine the flour and cornstarch. Slowly add in the milk and whisk while doing so. Finally, Add in the vinegar and whisk until well incorporated.

In the other bowl, Mix together the bread crumbs and salt. Then add the olive oil and use your fingers (this is the fun part!) to mix create a crumbly breading.

Now create an assembly line by putting the things in this order: onions, cornstarch mixture, breading, and the greased baking sheet. Now dip the onions in each bowl in that order and make sure that they get well incorporated with the breading; stick on the baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the onions.

Cook for about six minutes and then flip the onions and cook six or so minutes.

Preparing the Basil Cream Sauce: While those are cooking, make your super easy sauce. Just throw all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until the basil has broken down and turned the sauce into a light green color. Serve with the onion rings.

Munch down to cure your evening munchies while watching another rerun of ‘Unsolved Mysteries’

Valentine’s Day Waterfall Picnic

February 14, 2012

Valentine’s day is kind of a flop around here. I have class from 10 AM to 9:30 PM every Tuesday so making time to do something special on this holiday was kind of out of the question for me this year. Plus, I don’t really enjoy the whole cheesy make dinner for your special someone (I make fabulous dinner for my boyfriend ALL THE TIME) or go out to eat (we do this all the time too!). Although alot of this holiday is boogus, I do appreciate the idea of taking time out of your usual schedule to celebrate having someone important in your life. SO, instead of celebrating VDay on February 14th, I made Wyatt go on a winter picnic with  me  few days back when we both had the time for it so sit down and enjoy ourselves without the pressure of squeezing extra time into an already packed day.


  • Pear and Cheddar Panini
  • Hot Lentil Stew
  • Blue Cheese Drop Biscuits
  • Hot Apple-Pear Cider + whiskey
  • Nutella (my cousin brought me back some from Italy) + Crackers
  • Raspberry + Chocolate

Beautiful Waterfall spot in the Middle-of-Nowhere, Indiana

I promise he’s not peeing into the water

Oh, and he thinks hes funny.